A self-taught designer from Sweden, Jakob Trollbäck began his artistic career as a DJ in his native Stockholm. Having found a commonality in music and design, Trollbäck creates pieces that transport his audience to planes of sensorial experience. He is an acknowledged industry leader in both branding and motion graphic design and has worked with HBO, ESPN, CBS, A&E, AMC, TNT and most recently Cooking Channel. Trollbäck + Company recently launched a digital division and its first app, + loop, which splits the screen into a grid of small video players that record and play back motion or still images.
How would you describe your job to a nine-year-old?
My job is to explain how ideas and products works, and suggest how they could fit into your life.
What does being creative mean to you?
It’s about finding new ways to do things and never, ever repeat anything. To constantly make things better.
“I am creative because…”
I’m looking for new, interesting ways to see the world.
What inspires you?
Simple, beautiful and humanistic ways to solve complicated issues. Learning to understand how things work. Psychology. Philosophy. Love.
What is your greatest creative achievement so far?
I built a boom box in 1976. It may have been the very first one. It burned through batteries but was crazy good. It was stolen and I don’t even have a photograph.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
To be able to relax. Knowing that everybody is happy and for a short moment, there is absolutely nothing more to do. Maybe you have just made love. The sun is setting and drinks are served.
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Beauty, when things fit together in one true way.
What turns you off?
Narrow minds, intolerance, religious fanatics, Republicans and people who let their babies cry.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Writing. Perhaps starting a restaurant, bakery, club or hotel.
What profession would you not like to do?
Any profession where the whole purpose is to make money. We used to have banks that were enabling entrepreneurship and helping people invest in their future. Today the only driving force of the whole financial sector is greed, regardless of the consequences. The institutions that were supposed to be the backbone of civilization are today 100% predatory.
What’s hanging above your desk/in your office?
Nothing at the moment. A white wall is good for thinking.
What’s a great book you’ve read or movie you’ve seen recently and what did it teach you?
I just saw Larry Crowne on a plane. It’s not a good movie. But Hollywood is still good at suggesting that anyone can change his or her life. The problem with those movies relates to Ohm’s Law. While they may have high voltage, their current is much too weak to overcome the resistance to change our lives. On the same flight I saw Mike Mills’s Beginners. It has a wonderful and heartbreaking portrait of a gay father. It also features a complicated love relationship drama. Yes, love is complicated, I know.
Where do you go to be alone?
I stay up when others are asleep. I love to come in to work an hour before everyone else but that is unfortunately not happening too often due to my late nights.
What is your current state of mind?